With enough room made on the front end of our Nova with the Chassisworks front clip install from our last build update, this time we moved to the trunk to make way for a wider rear tire via our Detroit Speed Engineering deep tub kit. We were also going to be mocking up our trick 17-inch Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels.
The wheels we are trying to fit are Billet Specialties Street Lites. They start life as a rotary forged piece of 6061-T6 aluminum. Once the center is finished, it is affixed to a outer rim shell and welded in a complete circle. The machined centers give this wheel a custom-made look and proof that it is not a casting. Amazingly enough, the wheels are very affordable considering the design and weight savings you get from them.
First things first, we needed to get the old tubs out of the Nova II. These anemic wheel housings were only capable of handling a short, 255mm wide tire. The new DSE tubs were going to add another 2.5 inches or width, as well as more height. This was going to be more than enough to fit our 315/35/17 Mickey Thompson drag radials in the rear.
With the old tubs out, Sean worked on massaging the frame rails. Removing another 1.5” from them was essential to getting the additional wheel clearance we needed. DSE includes a pre-fabbed gusset that is the exact same dimensions as the stock piece that is designed to add strength back to the cut frame rail. The tubs are also made from sturdy 18-gauge steel and is much more durable than the stock wheel housing.
With the inner tubs completely out and the frame rails fabricated, we began to fit in the new DSE tubs. As you can see, the fit like a glove to the inner wheel housing. The tubs are then tack welded back up in the same spots the stock wheel housings were once welded. Then the joint between the outside and inside wheel tub will be filled with seam sealer. Since there are some slight variations between the different year Novas, there is a little bit if patchwork that is needed on the front and back side edges of the tubs to finish them up. Inside the trunk the spot-welds continued between the stock wheel housing and the DSE counterpart. The reinforcement for the trunk hinge was also welded right in place.
Since the Nova is going to be a stock interior car, we needed to fabricate the rear seat frame to get it to fit with the bloated housings behind it. Detroit Speed includes instructions on modifying the rear seat, which is rather simple. The lower support bracket and the middle support wire are simply cut and flipped – in a manner that took us about 15 minutes to complete.
With our fingers crossed (because we already had them) we test fit the 17×11” Billet Specialties Street Lite wheels. They fit perfectly and allowed for about ¾” of inner and outer clearance for the tire. With the wheels there we drew out 53.75” (hub to hub) for the measurements on our new Moser 9” rear end. The next installment for MaxStreet will stay at the rear end with the new Detroit Speed QuadraLink 4-link kit that will house our Moser 9” rear end. Also, we will be finishing up the front brakes on our Chris Alston’s front clip in hopes of having the Nova rolling under its own power soon!